10 Easy Forts Kids Love to Build
Building ‘forts’ with your children is a great way to get them active and encourage creativity. It doesn’t take much to get started, and almost anything can be made into a fort. Older children can work together to make a fort or clubhouse of their own. Creating rules and cooperating to build something is a wonderful learning experience for children. Here are ten simple ideas for forts.
- Cardboard boxes – They are great and so easy to use. Washable markers can decorate the fort and a simple window and door can be cut into it in fun shapes. You can even leave a hinge for the windows and doors so they can be opened and shut. Refrigerator or other large appliance boxes are preferred, but even lots of small boxes can be used as building blocks. Best of all, cardboard is surprisingly sturdy and will last through many play-times. Indoors or out, this fort is a hit.
- Blankets – If you’re stuck inside on a rainy day, make a fort. Chairs can serve as walls. Just toss a blanket or sheet over them and voila! Instant tent. Kids love to ‘camp out’ in the house, and you can even have a secret picnic lunch. The size of your fort is only limited by the number of sheets you can find!
- Cushions – Also a great indoor fort, cushions are a soft, fluffy alternative to blankets. Removing the couch cushions and leaning them together creates mini-teepees. Line them up and you’ve got a child sized tunnel. And don’t worry if it collapses on them, they are soft, after all.
- Snow – Ah, the ultimate winter building material. Snow forts are a classic. They can range anywhere from one-walled fortresses against snowballs to elaborate castles. Just remember not to allow the walls to get high enough to bury you. And never dig a cave in the snow, it could collapse and cause suffocation.
- Sand – The summer alternative to snow, sand has the same great flexibility and the same dangers. But if you’re next to water, try building a moat around your fort. Kids will love running buckets of water over to pour into the moat, and sea shells can turn into ravenous sharks defending the castle.
- Tarp – Tarp is a cheap outdoor alternative to sheets. Instead of frustrating yourself and digging out the hard-to-assemble tent, just grab a tarp and throw it over a low lying branch. Put a brick or stone on each corner and you’ve got a fort. No low branches? Not to worry, just tie a string between two trees and throw the tarp over that.
- Sticks – Don’t laugh, many a sturdy fort has been created by the ingenious use of sticks. A lean-to is easy for a child to make. Just find sticks of semi-equal length and lean them against a wall. If you want to get really creative (and dirty) use mud to fill in the cracks and coat the mud with leaves. Instant camouflage for the fledgling hunter.
- Tables – Tablecloths that hang nearly to the floor make an instant fort. Make sure there’s nothing on the table to be pulled off and let your child go at it. You can remove the chairs for extra space or leave them there as a sort of obstacle course. Of course, you might end up with a child wanting to eat under the table instead of at it…
- Beds – Army-crawling under the bed is best left to young ones. A flashlight can make the scary darkness under the bed the realm of children instead of monsters. Just make sure the bed frame is solid before letting them under, and don’t let anybody jump on the bed.
- Closets – An excellent hide-and-go-seek spot, dark closets also make a great fort. The small space left between the clothing and the floor is just the right size for tots. A flashlight and a book make for a cozy reading room or a battlefield for the toy soldiers. Best of all, there’s no room for pesky siblings.
There you have it; ten easy to build, fun forts for kids. Almost anything can be made into a fort. All it takes is a little effort and a lot of imagination. The next time your child is bored and doesn’t know what to do, suggest building a fort. They can pretend it is anything from their very own house, to a hunting lodge, to a castle, or even an enemy bunker. Whatever they choose to do, they’ll be using their imaginations and learning.
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